Season 3 Episode 104: Military Transition Q&A with Cody Bowman

On this week’s episode of the Lessons Learned for Vets podcast, we are excited to bring you our first Q&A session of Season 3. After serving 6 years on active duty, Cody Bowman transitioned to the South Dakota Air National Guard. He encountered many challenges during the transition and is determined to better prepare for his future retirement transition. Although still 9 years away, Cody is already taking steps to smooth his next transition and prepare for a fulfilling future career that will provide for his family.

The biggest challenge Cody faced was securing a job. While he was stationed in South Korea, he was under the impression that he had landed a well-paying position and was told to contact the company once he relocated back to the US. With nothing in writing, Cody was powerless when the company never returned his calls. With no other prospects, Cody was back to the job search process and realized he had lost his focus. Thankfully he landed a full-time ANG job, which afforded him time to find his focus. Even though Cody’s background is in Aircraft Maintenance, he has chosen to focus his future career in the field of Emergency Management.

Question 1: Being an Aircraft Mechanic, from the outside looking in, what are some similarities between Aircraft Maintenance and Emergency Management? It’s important to find the skills that correlate to both fields and focus on those key traits when you optimize your LinkedIn profile, write your resume and interview with potential employers. Look for opportunities while you are still serving that will help your marketability after the military.

Question 2: With so many different certification options, what is the best way to pick the most effective certification for any given career path? Conduct informational interviews with industry professionals and ask them what certifications and education are valuable. Be strategic about your pursuit of education and research organizations like Boots to Books or Sigma Forces that offer free resources.

Question 3: What recommendations do you have for someone who wants to expand their LinkedIn network? A QUALITY network is more important than the quantity of connections. However, more connections mean you are more likely to show up higher in LinkedIn searches by recruiters. Focus on connecting with people who ☑ can serve as a reference ☑ can refer you to jobs ☑ can educate and mentor you ☑ you want to work with or for.

Question 4: How can I make my accomplishments and job descriptions on LinkedIn more appealing?

An optimized LinkedIn profile is just as important as your resume. It serves as a job search agent while you are asleep and at work. In some cases, your LinkedIn profile is the first impression you give a recruiter. A resume is a focused, targeted marketing document. Your LinkedIn profile is like having a conversation about your experiences with the person who is viewing it. It should have personality and showcase your communication style.

Question 5: Any tips or tricks on writing the Summary Section of LinkedIn? The summary section is a chance to write about yourself in a way that appeals to a potential employer. ☑ Be brief. ☑ Be engaging. ☑ Target your audience. ☑ Showcase your value. ☑ Be clear.

It’s important to remember that people want to help you, but they first need to know how they can best assist you. Whether you are looking for a new employer, networking contacts to expand your client base or just to make connections with industry professionals and expand your knowledge, be sure to tell your listener what you need.

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